Is it ethical to ask for a professor's proofreading help?
September 23, 2010 8:06 PM Subscribe
I'm an undergraduate applying for a semester-long study-abroad program. I have to write my application essay both in English and in French. Would it be appropriate for me to ask one of my French professors to help me proofread the French version of my essay before submitting it?
posted by datarose to Education (13 answers total)
The teacher I have in mind is a native French speaker. This is the first semester I've had her, and she's teaching Advanced Grammar and Style. I would like to ask her if we could spend 10-15 minutes in person going over the French version of my essay (~500 words) so she can help me proofread it; she could spot usage errors or make word choice suggestions that would never have crossed my mind. She wouldn't be writing the essay for me in any sense. My essay would already be fully written and polished when giving it to her. I would just like some help making it perfect and making sure it reads well to a native speaker.
However, as I have absolutely no experience in ever asking a teacher for help with anything, I'm not sure when I would be crossing the line into being unethical or "cheating" by asking for too much help or asking for help when instead I ought to do the assignment entirely on my own. Also, I worry the professor might not appreciate my using up her office hours to work on something not directly related to class, although it is her area of expertise.
Based on your experience, or in your opinion, is it OK to me to ask for help from a native speaker/professor in proofreading the French version of my essay? Or do you take application essays as something to be done entirely on one's own?
(For what it's worth, by the way, my application is almost guaranteed to be accepted as long as the quality of my French essay is at least passable -- so the teacher's help would not make or break my admission into the study abroad program.)